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Friday, 12 April 2024
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Dedication of St Mary Major Basilica


This feast was instituted by Pope Sixtus III on August 5th as a local feast in the 5th century. Later the feast became a universal feast in the fourteenth century.

Legend has it that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in a vision asking for the construction of this church, and the snow that fell on the ground between August 5th and 6th outlined where the church was to be located. Hence the alternative title of the church: Our Lady of the Snows.

This basilica is one of the four major basilicas in Rome which include the basilica of
St. John Lateranwhose dedication is celebrated on November 9th and the basilicas of St. Peter, and St Paul Outside-the-Walls whose dedication is celebrated on November 11th.

Pope Liberius dedicated the church in 366. The feast was officially added to the Roman Calendar in 1586.

Our Lady of the Snows
Feast of St Mary Major
Underneath the Basilica
Virtual Tour
Pope Francis